The Queen’s Gambit (Netflix) : A Review

Seven 1-hour episodes to go through for something that I don’t quite understand is actually a big feat. One lazy day while scrolling the Netflix looking for something to watch, I stumbled upon the trailer for The Queen’s Gambit. To be honest, at first I thought that it was a movie. That was why I clicked “play” so fast, but soon realised that it wasn’t.

This story is about a young chess prodigy, who made her way to the International stage beating men along the way which is a rarity in those days. Set in the 1960’s, Beth Harmon’s journey towards the International Stage wasn’t without its challenges and hardships. Beth found herself suddenly orphaned by the sudden demise of her mother, and navigating her own path, alone in the world, to eventually searching for her own family, or maybe something that resembles one.

2 episodes in, I find myself mesmerised with how the story was presented, how the game was played as I myself personally have no knowledge of the game. Headlined by Anya Taylor-Joy, I knew that I was in for something thrilling. I saw her once before when she played the lead character in the 2016’s chilling thriller Split. She’s a stunning actress, and she’s always managed to convey her feelings from her beady eyes. I felt like she doesn’t even need any words to tell her story, she can just say them all with only her eyes.

I think that Beth found solace in the game of chess, and that she thinks that she had control of the board the chess pieces, while everything around her is spiraling out of control. Its a good juxtaposition between her reality and the life of the chess pieces.

What’s more surprising was the appearance of not one but two familiar faces, that can transport you straight away to the 90’s. If you’re familiar with the movie “Love Actually”, you’ll see in the series, that little kid who was convinced that he has fallen in love with his American classmate. Yeah, that adorable red-head is now all grown up. Thomas Brodie-Sangster played Benny Watts who was Chess American Champion. Another big surprise is, Dudley from the Harry Potter Saga, Harry Melling reinvented himself for his portrayal as Harry Beltik, the Chess State Champion who Beth goes up against in her first major chess competition.

What I liked most about this series, is the fact that it was a limited series. I don’t have to wait so long to know how the story ends. As this story was unfortunately not based on a true life story, I find comfort that the end is near, without crippling hangovers and fear of it being cancelled without a proper ending, which Netflix is prone to do. Not to mention with the on-going COVID situation, who knows when we’ll be able to get another season when productions are being delayed.

What I ultimately learned from this limited series was that, only you can keep digging the hole that you are sinking into and you are the only one that can climb out of it. And also, your family is not always your own blood, but families can also be those that you choose to keep close.

Rating 9/10

AZ

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